If you live in a developed country in the West, climate change may mean that your air conditioning bill is higher in the summer. In the worst cases, increases in storm activity may flood your area. But the floods will recede and life will return to normal. You may, rightfully, have a concern over the species being lost to extinction and the deterioration of the oceans, and the effects on future generations.
If you are a farmer in Sudan, it means the Sahara desert is expanding and water sources drying up for the herders. It means those herders are being driven toward your farmland. And they are armed.
In other areas of the developing world, stronger cyclones and hurricanes will devastate poorly constructed communities. Larger and longer heat waves and monsoons, as dry areas become more dry and wet areas become more wet, will devastate crops that entire communities have used for subsistence for centuries.
If you live in the developing world, climate change is not a concern for future generations. It is life threatening, now.
So it is not surprising that in a recent Pew Research Center Report only 42% of people surveyed in the U.S. say they are very concerned about climate change, rating it second to last of seven global threats, while people in much of Latin America and Africa see climate change as the top of the list.
The survey, conducted in 40 countries across the globe, shows that the majority of the populations in 19 countries believe that climate change is the top global threat. More than 70% of respondents in Uganda, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Peru, Brazil, the Philippines and India say they are more concerned about climate change than economic instability, ISIS and Iran’s nuclear program, among other issues.
Only 19% of people in China say they are concerned about climate change. In Poland, apparently only 14% even care.
A glimmer of hope in the US: younger people (46%) are significantly more likely to voice concern about climate change than those ages 50 and older (36%).